Substituting olive oil for butter in bread baking cuts back on the overall cholesterol and saturated fats in the recipe. Most breads require only a small amount of butter, and using olive oil instead does little to affect the taste or structure of the product. This differs from replacing butter in cakes and cookies, which rely on butter for their structure. Any bread recipe using butter can use olive oil instead. Both fats act to slow the formation of gluten during kneading, yielding a softer dough than breads without added fat. Since butter also contains up to 20 percent water and milk solids in its structure and does not have 100 percent fat, you must make adjustments in the amount of olive oil–100 percent fat by weight–used.

Things You'll Need

Look over your recipe and determine the total amount of butter called for.

Substitute olive oil for the butter in the recipe by using ¾ tbsp. olive oil for each 1 tbsp. of butter in the recipe. Use a conversion chart to ease the mathematics in converting.

Add the oil into the bread dough after all the other ingredients have been mixed in to prevent the oil from completely coating the flour, making the dough too soft.

Use olive oil on the kneading surface instead of flour for shaping and kneading the dough, if desired. This will keep the dough soft.

Bake the bread as directed in the recipe.


  • Use a lightly flavored olive oil to replace butter in baking. Taste the oil before adding it to avoid making an olive oil-flavored bread.